Monday, October 31, 2011

Birthday Brunch & Football Food:Pizza

Hello Monday. Hope your week is off to a good start. HAPPY HALLOWEEN! I love this holiday, its my favorite. Tonight, we’re dressing up as a Mickey Mouse family and handing our candy to the kiddos and beer from our kegerator to the adults. We have a neighborhood FULL of kids, so we should get slammed.

We finished up our weekend with brunch with my parents to celebrate my Dad’s birthday! We took a “blue eye” picture pre-brunch- Me, Kaylin & My Dad! Hard to tell in the picture, but we’re all blue eyed babies:


We hit up one of my favorite brunch spots, Crave. Kaylin slept through most of the meal:


I got a ginormous egg white omelet with spinach, tomato and onion and fruit on the side. I also ate one of their amazing corn muffins.


Happy Birthday Dad!

The rest of the day was spent lounging. I was NOT feeling good. We also watched a lot of football. For dinner, I made the boys (Josh and his friend Andrew) pizza (I ate the rest of my breakfast…despite feeling like crud). I made dough using my favorite 101 cookbooks recipe. I topped the dough with pizza sauce, fresh mozzarella, pepperoni and jalapenos:



I also made up a batch of pumpkin chocolate chunk bars for dessert. And then it was sleep time! Do you have a favorite pizza dough recipe, or do you prefer to buy your dough/crust? Sometimes I buy my dough from Publix or TJs(depending on how much time I have).

As a side note (in case you missed it yesterday):

Help me pick my outfit for our family pictures

And, If you have a minute…Remember how Josh and I went on our babymoon in Jamaica? We stayed (for the second time) at a resort we LOVE- Secrets! I just entered a contest to win a free trip back to a Secrets resort. You can vote for my babymoon bump photo here. You can vote once a day (so I may be posting annoying reminders for a while) Thank youuuuuuuuuu!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Family, Friends & Spinach Salad

How has your weekend been so far? Ours has been really nice! Friday, we went to a get together at Amelia’s house. Lindsay (formerly of Pancakes N Pajamas) and Mandi (who used to post with me on Itzy’s Kitchen) and their husbands came too!



We had a blast catching up and eating yummy food. Amelia made incredible burgers (beef and turkey) and we each brought a side. I made a spinach salad which contained spinach (duh Winking smile), chopped apple & pear, dried cranberries, pumpkin seeds and sliced almonds. I used TJs balsamic dressing on top. My plate- salad, fruit, chips, pickles & a beef burger:


Amelia also made an awesome array of desserts. We were stuffed after dinner but she sent us home with adult goodie bags of cookies and crisp. The crisp was amazing.


Saturday, I went to Body Step, hung with Kaylin & went shopping! I got some new shoes and clothes for a family photo shoot we’re doing next weekend.



Speaking of the photo shoot, I plan to do some dressier pictures and some more relaxed pictures (jeans). We’re doing tans/creams/maroons as our color palate for the dressier picture. Which skirt do you like better, A- Light Brown, Cotton- Banana:


or B Maroon Corduroy- Banana :


Today, we’re celebrating my Dad’s birthday (which is on Halloween) with brunch. What are you up to?

Side Note: If you have a minute…Remember how Josh and I went on our babymoon in Jamaica? We stayed (for the second time) at a resort we LOVE- Secrets! I just entered a contest to win a free trip back to a Secrets resort. You can vote for my babymoon bump photo here. Thank youuuuuuuuuu!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Nutty Shrimp, Asparagus & Cashew Stir Fry

Fridayyyyyyyyyyyyyy! Whoop, Whoop! Any exciting plans going on? Tonight, we’re headed to a friends house for a potluck. This potluck will include ‘smores. I am so excited! Sunday, we’re going to brunch for my Dad’s birthday. Otherwise? Few workouts, cleaning, football, relaxing!

I recently received a copy of a new cookbook, Ching’s Everyday Easy Chinese (disclaimer: I received this cookbook to review for free from the publisher). I enjoy Chinese food, but I rarely eat it due to the crazy nutritional stats. Ching put together an amazing cookbook full of recipes that are not only healthier, but are also quick to put together:


According to the publisher:

“With her trademark passion and deep appreciation for Chinese cooking, Cooking Channel star Ching-He Huang brings her charm and expertise to an eager audience with this outstanding cookbook. Ching fuses Chinese and Western cultures to create one hundred quick dishes full of natural ingredients and bursting with flavor.

Ching’s Everyday Easy Chinese makes it simple for home cooks to prepare their favorite Chinese dishes faster, cheaper, and more healthfully than their local restaurant. Enjoy a diverse selection of favorite recipes for every occasion and taste, including:

  • Traditional Hot and Sour Soup
  • Five-Spice Salted Shrimp with Hot Cilantro Sauce
  • Crispy Sweet Chili Beef Pancakes
  • Kung Po Chicken
  • Black Pepper Beef and Rainbow Vegetable Stir-Fry
  • Singapore Noodles
  • Egg and Asparagus Fried Rice”

When I saw the recipe for nutty shrimp, asparagus and cashew stir-fry, I knew I had to give it a go!


This recipe took me no longer than 20 minutes to put together (including cooking the rice and shrimp- not included in recipe time shown above). The finished product:


Have I mentioned that I hate that it gets dark out so early now Sad smile. With sesame seeds:


So good! Josh couldn’t believe the sauce was homemade. Unfortunately, I can’t share the recipe for this dish for you (you’re going to have to run out and get this book!!). However, I can share a recipe for Kung Pao Chicken from the book (I plan to make this next):


  • 4 thighs, cut into ½-inch slices
  • Salt and ground white pepper
  • 1 tbsp of potato flour or cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp of peanut oil
  • 2 tbsps of Sichuan peppercorns
  • 4 dried red chilies
  • 1 tbsp of Shaohsing rice wine or dry sherry
  • 1 red pepper, seeded and cut into chunks
  • 2 scallions, chopped into 1-inch lengths
  • Handful of dry-roasted cashews

For the Sauce

  • 7 tbsps of cold vegetable stock
  • 1 tbsp of light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp of tomato ketchup
  • 1 tbsp of Chinkiang black rice
  • vinegar or balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp of hoisin sauce
  • 1 tsp of chili sauce
  • 1 tbsp of cornstarch


1. Place the chicken in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Add the potato flour or cornstarch and mix well to coat the chicken pieces. Add all the ingredients for the sauce to another bowl and stir to combine.

2. Heat a wok over high heat until it starts to smoke and then add the peanut oil. Add the Sichuan peppercorns and dried chilies and fry for a few seconds, then add the chicken pieces and stir-fry for 2 minutes. As the chicken begins to turn opaque, add the rice wine or dry sherry. Cook for an additional 2 minutes, then pour in the sauce.

3. Bring to a boil, add the red pepper, and cook in the sauce with the chicken for another 2 minutes, or until the meat is cooked through and the sauce has thickened and become slightly sticky in consistency. Add the scallions and cook for 1 minute. Toss in the cashews, then transfer to a serving plate and serve immediately.

Kung Po Chicken

Are you a Chinese food fan??

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Pumpkin Patch

I cannot believe its almost Halloween! Where did the time go? This past weekend, we took our little Pumpkin (thanks for the onesie Mandi!) to the pumpkin patch for the first time. I just wanted to share a few pictures.


Please ignore the drool on my arm:


She got her first, tiny pumpkin:


Hanging with Dad:



All that fresh air will get to you:


Have you gotten your pumpkins yet??

Monday, October 24, 2011

Football Food: Pulled Chicken

The rest of our weekend was pretty laid back! The family took a nap:


Josh and I did a lot of housework, took Kaylin for a stroll and I went for a run. We also watched lots of football! For football Sunday, I made up pulled chicken in the crockpot. I just threw crushed pineapple, barbeque sauce & chicken in the crockpot and then pulled it when it was done cooking. I served it along side some tortilla chips (for scooping) and green beans and potatoes from Bird’s Eye Chef Favorites (disclaimer: I received these products for free as part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program).



A simple meal! I do promise those pictures from the pumpkin patch are coming! We didn’t take the pictures on our camera!!

Anything exciting on tap this week? For me=work, teaching at the gym (almost completely back to my old schedule), massage (!!) and hopefully lots of time with the family!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Vegan Almond Meal Pumpkin Chocolate Chunk Cookies

How has your weekend been so far? Ours has been fantastic! Friday night, we went to our local high school football game and out to dinner with Josh’s family. Saturday, we had our Body Step & Pump launches at the gym and then took Kaylin to the pumpkin patch (pictures to come!).

I always bake goodies for the other instructors on launch days. I made these peanut butter chocolate chip cookies and then I made a patch of vegan almond meal pumpkin chocolate chunk cookies. I almost completely followed this recipe, with just a few alterations:


  • 2 cups almond meal
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • Desired amount chocolate chips or chunks
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup olive oil 
  • 1 tblsp vanilla
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin puree


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. In two separate bowls, mix wet and dry ingredients
  3. Fold dry ingredients into wet
  4. Drop rounded tablespoons of batter onto a cookie sheet 
  5. Bake 9-10 minutes.
  6. Let cookies cool for a couple minutes on the sheet and then remove to a cooling rack. Allow cookies to cool completely before handling.
  7. Makes about two dozen cookies.





A couple pictures from the Step launch:






Friday, October 21, 2011

Doctored Butternut Squash Soup

Thank goodness its Friday! Phew…its been a busy week! During weeks like this one, I lean on easy dinners. I love to cook meals from scratch, but sometimes you have to go the semi-homemade route. I picked up this low sodium organic butternut squash soup from TJs:


To give it a little more oomph, I added 1/2 lb ground turkey (browned up in a skillet), 1/2 cup frozen peas (defrosted), 1/2 cup frozen corn (defrosted) and 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper. Heat it all up and serve! With a nice side of bread or a grilled cheese sandwich, you have the perfect dinner!



This soup is full of different spices. While I enjoyed it, Josh wasn’t a huge fan of the level of spice.

What are you up to this weekend? Our launch week at the gym continues tomorrow. I am teaching during the Body Step and Pump launches. We are also taking Kaylin to the pumpkin patch (I can’t wait!!).

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Shrimp & Peanut Butter Soup

I know, right? Sounds odd and kind of gross…but stay with me! My girl, Julie, had posted about and emailed me about this curry and peanut soup. Problem- I don’t like curry and Josh isn’t a HUGE sweet potato fan. I reworked the recipe and loved the result. Please ignore the junky iPhone picture- I was in a hurry!


  • 2 T low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 small sweet potato, diced
  • 1/2 a regular, white potato, diced
  • 2 large carrots, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 lb small shrimp, cleaned and deveined
  • 1 15 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 32 oz low sodium veg stock
  • 1 15 oz can low sodium garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3 T natural peanut butter (I used TJs unsalted PB)
  • 2 t cumin
  • 1/4 t ground red pepper
  • 2/3 cup frozen peas, defrosted


1. heat 1/2 c water add soy sauce in large pot
2. add onion and potatoes. cook for ~8-10 min over high heat (until potatoes are soft), stir occasionally
3. add carrot and celery cover and cook 3 min
4. add shrimp and cook until no longer white, about 5 min
5. stir in tomatoes, stock and beans
6. blend peanut butter with 1/3 cup water and cumin & red pepper. add to soup with peas
7. stir to mix well. cover and simmer ten minutes


This was slightly spicy and totally tasty! Give it a go!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Football Food: Pineapple Jalapeno Turkey Burgers & Roasted Potatoes:


Hope everyone has a great Monday! I am teaching Body Pump and Body Step and we’re launching new material! My head is spinning! I hope I don’t forget my choreography!

I wanted to do a quick post to share with you our football Sunday food-

Pineapple jalapeno teriyaki turkey burgers, pre-cook:



Post Cook (later put on top of buns with the pineapple, pepper jack cheese & bbq sauce):


Roasted potatoes:


Cookies (recipe to come at a later date!):


What did you eat yesterday??

Sunday, October 16, 2011

First 5K

On Saturday, three people did their first 5K:


Although I’ve run a few 10K’s and done a 10 –miler, I don’t think I’ve ever done a 5K! Josh and (obviously) Kaylin never had either!


We did the Komen Race for the Cure! My Aunt (amazing survivor) and Mom joined us:


As well as my Uncle, Dad &friends:


The race was a success! Josh and I both ran, while my Mom/Aunt/Uncle & Dad pushed Kaylin and took care of her. They even fed her a bottle while they walked (thanks SO much guys- especially Mom!). I ended up finishing in 24 minutes and 30 seconds (I believe), a 7 minute 54 second average mile. I was very happy.

Love these two:


How was your Saturday?

Friday, October 14, 2011

Tuscan White Bean and Broccoli Stew & Clif Bar Review

I love soup/stew/chili. I know a lot of people need it to be cold to enjoy these dishes, but I can enjoy them year round! Good thing, because its still 80 degrees in Charleston (and this chick is NOT complaining!).

Recently, I received a copy of Emeril Lagasse’s Sizzling Skillets and Other One-Pot Wonders (disclaimer: I received this book for free from the publisher). According to the publisher:

“In chef Emeril Lagasse’s tribute to one-pot wonders, he shows there’s nothing more satisfying than a hearty meal prepared in your most cherished pot or pan. Whether baked in a cast-iron skillet, braised in a Dutch oven, seared in a hot wok, or simmered in a slow-cooker, Emeril’s Sizzling Skillets and Other One-Pot Wonders serves up delicious meals to fit any pan or palate.”


I fell in love with Emeril’s recipes when I reviewed his Farm to Fork cookbook. I have always been a fan of one pot meals (less clean up- yes, please!). Now that I have a baby, I love them even more. I book marked at least 10 recipes in the book during my first glance through. The one that intrigued me most was his Tuscan White Bean Soup with Broccoli Rabe:


What I liked most about this recipe is that Emeril used lima beans when he made it (although you can use any dried white bean).

Tuscan White Bean Soup with Broccoli Rabe


I used broccoli instead of broccoli rabe and eliminated the fresh red pepper (as Josh isn’t a fan).I also halved the recipe, but apparently you can’t halve the liquid or you end up with a stew…..or clump:


but let me tell you, it was one delicious clump!


Both Josh and I were huge fans! I can’t wait to try more recipes from the book! Here is the original recipe:

Tuscan White Bean Soup with Broccoli Rabe

This is a comforting, hearty soup with flavors reminiscent of northern Italy. We used baby lima beans because we just love their tender, creamy consistency, although in Italy it would likely be made with cannellini beans or great Northern beans. Use whichever beans you love or have on hand; just take note that the cooking time will vary slightly.

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups small-diced onion
  • 1 cup small-diced celery
  • 1 cup small-diced red bell pepper
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian herbs
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 8 cups chicken stock or canned low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 pounds dried white beans (cannellini, baby lima, or great Northern), rinsed, picked over, soaked overnight, and drained
  • 1 piece Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese rind, about 1 × 3 inches
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 ½ pounds broccoli rabe, tough stem ends trimmed, chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 6 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, finely grated (about 1 ½ cups)
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

1. Heat the olive oil in an 8-quart soup pot or stockpot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, celery, bell pepper, 1 teaspoon of the salt, and ¼ teaspoon of the black pepper and cook, stirring, until the vegetables are tender, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic, dried Italian herbs, and crushed red pepper and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the stock, beans, Parmesan rind, bay leaf, and water and bring to a low boil. Reduce the heat to simmer gently and cook, partially covered and stirring occasionally, until the beans are tender, 45 to 60 minutes.

2. Using a slotted spoon, transfer about 1 cup of the beans from the pot to a small bowl and mash them with the back of a spoon. Return the mashed beans to the soup and add the remaining 1 tablespoon salt. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat and continue to cook, uncovered, until the broth thickens slightly, about 15 minutes. Add the remaining black pepper, the broccoli rabe, and rosemary sprig and continue to cook until the broccoli rabe is just tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the lemon zest and lemon juice. Remove the Parmesan rind, bay leaf, and rosemary sprig and discard them. Serve the soup in wide, shallow bowls, garnished with grated Parmesan and a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil.

13 cups, about 6 servings

We also sampled the seasonal clif bars, including the newest seasonal flavor, Peppermint Stick (disclaimer: we received these products to sample for free as well….).


CLIF BAR Peppermint Stick

CLIF BAR 2011 Seasonals - All 3 Flavors

While I LOVE the iced gingerbread and spiced pumpkin pie flavors (the gingerbread is my favorite!), I wasn’t a huge fan of the peppermint stick. I feel like it needs some chocolate to go with it to make it all work. But…I’ll take an iced gingerbread any day!


What is your favorite fall/winter flavor?